Popular Christian music group The Katinas have organized a relief effort for their native homeland, Samoa, which was ravaged this past Tuesday by a massive tsunami triggered by an 8.2-magnitude earthquake.
"Samoa is dear to our hearts. Growing up there prepared us for what we've been doing for the last 20 years," the five-brother group wrote in a letter Wednesday to family and friends. "We have been blessed to travel the world and minister the message of Jesus through music. Now we are blessed to give back to the very place we come from."
Joined by GMA Female Vocalist of the Year Natalie Grant and former American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle, The Katinas will be holding the "Hope For Samoa Benefit Concert" this coming Wednesday at Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, Tenn., just outside of Nashville.
According to The Katinas' note, their father, four sisters, brother and two nephews who live in Samoa are in good condition. Some of their friends and close family members, however, are still missing. One of their cousins, from the village of Leone, died Tuesday in the tsunami's aftermath.
As for Friday, at least 170 have been reported dead.
While The Katinas are still gathering information on how to assist their people with some of their immediate and long term needs, the band is asking supporters to pray for the people of the island.
"Pray for the search of those who are still missing. Pray that God would heal our people both spiritually and physically," they stated.
The brothers are also urging supporters to visit the website of its charity organization, The Katina Foundation (www.katinamission.org), to make tax-deductable donations.
"It is very clear to us now what our mission is," they wrote in their website, reporting how Tuesday's disaster made them even more passionate to go and help their people.
The band's upcoming benefit concert, which will be emceed by radio personalities Doug Griffin and Kim Bindel from Salem Broadcasting's popular "Doug & Kim in the Morning," is scheduled to kick off 7:00 p.m.
More artists are expected to join for the effort.